Team by team, NFL teams are trying to find a solution to the anthem controversy that allows all players to stand. The Jaguars’ players have issued a statement expressing their intent to kneel before the anthem on Sunday during their game against the Jets, and then to stand.
“The United States flag and our national anthem are both strong sources of inspiration and unity,” the team’s players said. “Our respect for both is sincere. Given recent events and remarks, however, we felt it was time last weekend to shine a light on the serious issues of inequality and social injustice that exist in our country.
“We want to make it clear that we never intended in any way to show disrespect towards the U.S. military community, first responders, our flag, or our national anthem. We love and respect everyone who serves and has made sacrifices for the United States in the past, today and the future. That is especially true in our hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.
“We are a very diverse group, much like our country as a whole. So we may not see eye to eye on everything, but we will be a team undivided. We will play to win and represent Jacksonville with honor, and we are committed to furthering the conversation and taking action to effect positive change.
“In that spirit, the Jacksonville Jaguars – every one of us – prior to the national anthem on Sunday will kneel to pray for change, progress and equality for everyone who calls the United States their home. We hope others will pray along with us. We are all in this together.
“The Jacksonville Jaguars will then stand together, as a team, tomorrow and going forward, to honor our flag and our national anthem.”
Multiple other teams have announced similar plans, with the common denominator being standing for the anthem. To the extent that other avenues can be created for expressing valid concerns that previously were expressed only during the anthem, players can then stand for the anthem and bring to an end the controversy that has engulfed the league for more than a week.